June 13, 2008
If you think buying a horse is tricky now...
Joke e-mails circulate on how to translate horse-for-sale ads. In the older days, out-right dishonesty was common, including selling one horse and sending another, falsifying age (when few horses had papers), and patching up diseases like glanders long enough to get the horse off their hands. If you know horses, the stories here range from the hilarious to the horrifying. If you know nothing about horses except which end eats, you can still enjoy the fun of all these connivers. Beyond amusing his readers (and warning them), Taylor also gives advice on choosing and caring for horses, the veterinary treatments of the day, how-to of driving and riding, and "Twenty things which a bad Groom or Coachman will do." The second half is simply an all-around humane period reference on horses which, except for the medical, isn't really out of date. Indeed, it might be hard to better his advice on the causes and handling of runaway saddle horses, including when and how to jump off.